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GSK promotes employee well-being through mental health initiatives like a mindfulness program and cultural and financial support.Provided

As someone who came to GlaxoSmithKline Inc. (GSK) right out of university, stayed for 15 years, held various positions, then left only to return a few years ago, Emanuela De Franco has had the opportunity to experience many sides of the biopharmaceutical company.

“The organization is very good at supporting and developing talent,” says De Franco, the national director for partnerships and government affairs. “It’s always had a reputation of not only hiring talented people but developing those people.”

Its mentorship program, for example, matches employees with senior leaders. And informal mentors throughout the company are never hard to find. GSK’s Leaders Community offers workshops designed to develop leadership skills, including a 10-week First Line Leader training program and a Coaching Essentials workshop. Employees are also entitled to tuition reimbursement for courses related to their job or future development.

“These opportunities reflect GSK’s deep-rooted values and priorities,” says Jacky Tovell, human resources country head, GSK Canada. “We have bold ambitions to get ahead of disease, and we firmly believe that achieving that requires the combination of science, technology and talent.”

Drawn by its purpose, Tovell has been with GSK for a decade, and, like De Franco, has worn many hats. “I wanted to be part of a community that truly makes a positive impact on the lives of patients and people worldwide,” she says. “But it wasn’t just the mission that caught my attention, it was also the company culture.”

De Franco is not the only person to have worked at GSK, left and then come back. To her, that speaks volumes about the culture. “What I’ve noticed is this real focus on people and caring for people,” she says. “And that behaviour is modelled from the top down. We’ve established not just a culture of high performance but also a culture of caring for each other.”

Tovell notes a number of initiatives that reflect GSK’s commitment to a workplace that prioritizes the well-being of its people. Among them: a mindfulness program, expanded mental health practitioner coverage and a specialized on-demand training program called Mental Health Matters.

“Mental health is a top priority for us, and we’re fully dedicated to providing our employees with the resources they need to support their well-being,” Tovell explains.

GSK is also committed to making work a place where all employees feel welcome and valued. Integral to its diversity, equity and inclusion strategy are its employee resource groups, which focus on four key areas: disability, gender, racial minorities and LGBTQ+.

De Franco is a co-chair in Canada for the Women’s Leadership Initiative. “We have a fairly good representation of women on our senior leadership,” she says, “and we want to make sure that we’re building a strong pipeline so that continues.”

The group advocates for equality by focusing on advocacy, engagement and personal development. Mentorships, book clubs and lean-in circles help women build networks, and the group works on building women’s personal branding, De Franco says. “We’re helping them to elevate their voice around their successes as well,” she adds.

And GSK employees are helping in the outside community too. Since 2017, they have been raising funds through Ride4Kids – various organized physical activities to benefit Save the Children initiatives in Canada.

What keeps both De Franco and Tovell at GSK is what drew them there: purpose and culture. “I’m passionate about working for a company that’s dedicated to being ambitious for patients,” says Tovell. “It’s also about being part of a team that not only supports my success but holds me accountable for it. I get to be my best self at GSK.”

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Advertising feature produced by Canada’s Top 100 Employers, a division of Mediacorp Canada Inc. The Globe and Mail’s editorial department was not involved.

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